Have an account? Please log in.
Text size: Small font Default font Larger font
Radiology Daily
Radiology Daily PracticalReviews.com Radiology Daily

MRI Brain Scan Diagnoses Adult Autism

August 13, 2010
Written by: , Filed in: Diagnostic Imaging, Neuroradiology
  • Comments

A 15-minute MRI brain scan has proven more than 90 percent accurate in diagnosing autism in adults, according to researchers at the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London. Such a technique could greatly streamline diagnosis of the disorder.

According to the National Institutes of Health, autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affects three to six children out of every 1,000. The term encompasses a range of neurodevelopmental disorders characterized by social impairments and communication difficulties, among other symptoms. Diagnosis can be a long process based on evaluation of behavior.

Christine Ecker, PhD, a lecturer in the Department of Forensic and Neurodevelopmental Sciences at the Institute of Psychiatry, led the study. “The value of this rapid and accurate tool to diagnose ASD is immense,” she said. “It could help to alleviate the need for the emotional, time-consuming, and expensive diagnosis process which ASD patients and families currently have to endure. We now look forward to testing if our methods can also help children.”

Dr. Ecker’s team scanned the brain’s gray matter, then processed the resulting data into 3D images that could be assessed for structure, shape, and thickness characteristic of individuals with ASD. The study appeared this week in The Journal of Neuroscience.

Among other recent discoveries resulting from brain scans:

  • PET scans of rhesus monkeys’ brains have helped researchers pinpoint areas of the human brain associated with childhood anxiety. The findings may lead to strategies for early detection and treatment of at-risk children, according to a news release from the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health. “Children with anxious temperaments suffer from extreme shyness, persistent worry, and increased bodily responses to stress,” said Ned H. Kalin, MD, chair of psychiatry at the school and leader of the research. “It has long been known that these children are at increased risk of developing anxiety, depression, and associated substance-abuse disorders.” The study was published this week in the journal Nature.
  • Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas used single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) to identify a chemical system that reacts differently in the brains of cocaine addicts compared to the brains of healthy subjects, raising the possibility of new treatment options. The findings were published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology.
  • And scientists at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Japan used MRI to discover which areas of the brain are used by parents engaging in baby talk with their infants. It turns out that experience with child-rearing, gender, and personality all affect how parents process what the study called “infant-directed speech.” Says a RIKEN news release: “Infant-directed speech (IDS), also known as ‘baby talk,’ is a style of speech used by adults to address infants, characterized by high-pitched, articulated intonation and a simplified lexicon. While ubiquitous across languages and cultures, the neural mechanisms underlying IDS are unknown.” The research was published earlier this month in the journal NeuroImage.

One of these days (OOTD), an entire scientific paper (ESP) is going to consist  of nothing but acronyms (NBA).


Related seminar: Neuroradiology Review


Permalink: http://www.radiologydaily.com/?p=4934

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

  • Comments

Would you like to keep current with radiological news and information?

Post Your Comments and Responses

Comments are closed.